Where AI fits in skilled nursing facilities

Ask any forward-looking senior care expert about what the industry will look like in 30 years, and robots will likely emerge as an answer. Once artificial intelligence (AI) technology advances far enough, the logic goes, the skilled nursing industry could hypothetically solve its persistent staffing problems with cyborg assistants — a solution that’s already gained some moderate traction in Japan, according to Skilled Nursing News.

But equating AI with health care’s long-off future might cause some skilled nursing operators to ignore the feasible opportunities that exist today, even in a landscape of shrinking reimbursements and other competitive pressures.

“AI doesn’t need to be robotic in nature,” Sarah Thomas, senior director of global innovations at Genesis Rehabilitation Services, said during a panel at the recent National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) Spring Investment Forum in Dallas.

Instead, according to Thomas, AI can be as simple as software that performs data analytics on self-reported patient information and remotely monitored biometrics. Even a small step like that can go a long way in the skilled nursing world, which is somewhat notorious for being farther behind the technological curve than their fellow companies on the long-term care continuum.

“I’m still in buildings where they’re [using] paper charts, and I’m just shocked,” Thomas said. “And then they wonder why census is low.”

Archaic health records are one reason some facilities could see themselves passed over by large health networks, Medicare Advantage plans, and accountable care organizations (ACOs) — all of which are under intense pressure to reduce spending through tighter care coordination.

Read more at Skilled Nursing News.

Topics: Executive Leadership , Technology Trends , Uncategorized